Studded with luscious wilderness, off-beaten hiking trails, and pristine beaches ringed with turquoise water, the Door County has it all to escape the routine life. This verdant county is sandwiched between the Green Bay and Lake Michigan right on a gorgeous peninsula in the state of Wisconsin. It is an ideal destination for backpackers, or budget travelers seeking some nature connection and adrenaline pump. From hiking the wild terrains to exploring mysterious underwater caves or strolling the quaint little towns, we scouted out some of the best free things to do in the Door County below:
Visit Ellison Bluff Park – Door County
Whether you wish to connect to the serene and intimate setting of the Ellison Bluff Park or fill your lungs with crisp air while hiking the one mile (1.6 km) loop trail at the park, coming here will definitely give you a sense of inner peace. It’s no wonder that this park is quite popular among nature lovers. From its unblemished forest areas to its gasp-inducing ocean view and wild hiking trail each little corner beckons all the weary souls to recharge completely. If you’re planning to come here then you’ll likely find on-site facilities such as a parking lot, interpretive signage, and a restroom.
Indulge in outdoor adventures at the Ahnapee Trail
What was once a railway path, today the Ahnapee trail has turned into a multi-use trail used by local adventurers seeking for some fun outdoor activities both during summer and winter. Located along the Ahnapee and Kewaunee Rivers, this trail is another recommended place to spend some quality time in nature. It is perfect for indulging in buggy drive adventures, horse riding, or hiking along the secluded path, which will lead you to some pleasant animal encounters such as the deer, waterfowl, and turkeys. For your winter adventure enjoy cross-country ski or snowmobiles on the frosty surface.
Kitesurf at Anclam Beach in Baileys Harbor
Door County is no short of sublime beaches but one of the most sought-after is the Anclam Beach situated in the horseshoe shape Baileys Harbor known to be a hotspot among passionate kitesurfers. Thanks to its circulating southeast wind, the harbor is a safe-haven to practice many of the wind-driven sports. But if you’re not after an adrenaline kick then wind down along the beautiful shoreline of the Anclam beach and enjoy sunbathing. There are many convenient facilities such as bathrooms, a playground, and grills.
Experience cycling along the State Trails – Door County
With an eclectic range of state trails covering a distance of up to 1,700 miles (2735 km), adventurers will always find many bicycle trails to choose from depending on their preferences and experience. You can choose from three types of trails namely the bicycle touring trail which is perfect for novices, then there are the off-road bicycle trails dedicated to an intermediate level which is suitable for families. And finally, the constructed mountain bike trails are reserved for experienced adventurers.
Explore underwater caves at Cave Point County Park
The Cave Point County Park is a gorgeous attraction nestled between Sturgeon Bay and Jacksonport. It is endowed with pristine coves and caves not to mention the turquoise blue waters similarly like those in the Caribbean. A definite place to discover its fame underwater caves and carved rock faces through kayaking. But you can also scuba dive or snorkel of course when weather permits. Otherwise, there are many convenient picnic spots and facilities such as grills, restrooms, and fire rings to spend an intimate moment with your loved ones.
Dive the Great Lakes in Door County
If you happen to be an experienced diver then Great Lakes might just present you with lots of surprises. The Great Lakes has today become a watery grave of hundreds of sunken ships resting for decades or even over a century on the lake bottom. Diving deep down the lake you’ll find ancient schooners and modern steamers that are well-preserved thanks to the cold waters of Lake Michigan. And if you’re curious enough you might also spot the SS Appomattox- the 319-feet wooden ship (one of the largest) sunk in 1905. Though you can also learn more about these sunken ships at the Door County Maritime Museum without being submerged underwater.
Check out interesting exhibitions at Door County Historical Museum
Just take a simple visit to the Door County Historical Museum and you’ll understand why the locals take so much pride in their history. Tour the little museum and learn about the local history including street scenes made up of quaint post office, schoolhouse, and music shop. You can also get to see the experimental chemical engine, old motorized apparatus, and even a section dedicated to the local wildlife through a diorama made by taxidermist Mike Orthober.